Thursday, April 26, 2007
Susan Lipkins: Preventing Hazing
Susan Lipkins, Ph. D. Preventing Hazing: How Parents, Teachers and Coaches Can Stop the Violence, Harassment and Humiliation. Wiley: Josey-Bass, 2006. ISBN 0-7879-8178-8. 179 pages, paper, indexed with references.
This handbook covers all the bases of preventing or responding to hazing today, mostly at colleges. NBC Dateline covered an incident in California of water poisoning, a possibility that she mentions.
When I was growing up, hazing, however, was expected. During my lost first semester at William and Mary, on the Friday night of the second week of classes (in September, 1961), there was to be “tribunals” where freshmen males were to be hazed in various ways, including leg shaving. I skipped out on that, but heard about it later, and my doing so may have contributed to the tensions in the dorm that led to my expulsion in late November, 1961.
Hazing has long been understood as a group rite of passage, and “victims” tend to want to become hazers themselves. But there was very much a myth then that “being able to take hazing” was an important step in becoming a competitive adult male, ultimately able to perform in a marriage and raise a family. It was, perhaps, an urban legend or old wives tale.
Hazing has been taken up in the movies: Sorority Boys (2002, Touchstone, dir. Wallace Wolodarsky), Old School (2003, Dreamworks/Montecito, dir. Todd Phillips), and even for females: The Initiation of Sarah (2006, MGM/ABC Family, dir. Stuart Gillard, story by Tom Holland, about 100 min, a remake of a 1978 film).